There are lots of crowdfunding platforms, both conventional and crypto-based. WHIRL is dramatically different to all of them. Here’s how.
When we set out to build WHIRL, we had a clear objective in mind: to harness the power of crowdfunding for entrepreneurs, personal needs and charitable causes, but without the considerable downsides so often seen in other crowdfunding platforms and ecosystems.
As you’ll no doubt be aware, traditional crowdfunding platforms likeKickstarter suffer from a number of drawbacks — many of them related to the limitations of the mainstream financial system on which they rely. It’s hard or costly to deposit small amounts of money, especially from abroad, meaning that campaigns are typically limited in scope. (Additionally, you can’t fund charitable projects on Kickstarter.)
One of the quirks of conventional crowdfunding that is badly open to abuse is the ability to cancel your pledge. This has allowed campaigns to fake interest in their projects to build hype, ‘priming the pump’ to attract wider investment from the public. The ‘early backers’ — who may be friends of the campaign launcher or even fake accounts created by the campaign launchers themselves — then withdraw their pledges without any penalty, or make invalid pledges from empty bank cards. This scam tactic has often been used to fake interest and give an impression of trust for low-quality initiatives that, unsurprisingly, are ill-equipped deliver on their promises.
As if that was not enough, fees are typically high. Kickstarter takes 5% from every successful campaign, plus projects are hit with a payment processing fee of 3% plus $0.20 per pledge. That raises the ‘tax’ on campaigns to 9 or 10% — money that could be better spent elsewhere. Add to this sundry other fees that may be charged — banks’ commissions for withdrawals, international transaction fees, taxes and so on — and the total can reach 20% or even 30% of the money raised. Given the frequent need to print a run of t-shirts, order USB sticks, cups and other pointless rewards as part of the campaign, the creators can find themselves running short of cash even before they start product development.
Yet another pain point is that campaign creators just can’t reach journalists to publicise their projects. Like everyone else, journos are tired of crowdfunding and don’t want to write about it anymore. It’s called ‘Kickstarter fatigue’. While there was previously a boom and plenty of hype, now nobody wants to risk writing about something so minor, that has been rendered uninteresting through over-familiarity, and that even endangers the journalist because a failed or scam project reflects badly on their reputation. This makes the old model crowdfunding, for regular people, barely possible — and is a key reason why so many Kickstarter campaigns fail. But with WHIRL, it’s a very different story. Creators don’t have to rely on interest from external PR/press/journalists, but on people much like themselves: their community.
And so WHIRL eliminates numerous common problems, enabling investors from all over the world to participate with borderless, decentralised currencies in return for tokens that are tradeable on the open market. WHIRL also do not force campaign launchers to create any rewards and waste money on them, instead spending it all on development. So far, so good. But WHIRL is emphatically not an ICO platform, and is very different to other crypto crowdfunding sites too.
Quality, not quantity
Crowdfunding sites are enormously popular — at least among campaign launchers. 19,000 campaigns are launched on Indiegogo every month. But only a minority are funded. Indiegogo’s overall success rate is just 9.8%.That’s higher for very small campaigns (<$1,000) but still just 20.1%. A key reason? Quantity but not quality. WHIRL has implemented two factors that help ensure only the best projects are put forward, and are guaranteed to get funded.
Karma. The first is our Karma system. Karma is an internal rating system that shows how committed participants have been. Your Karma rises as you contribute to different campaigns. You can only post a project of your own if you’ve participated in previous campaigns, and the amount you’ve contributed determines how quickly your own campaign goes live and how much it can raise. In this way, we aim to build a community of committed backers, with all the positive impacts of network effect that brings. This ‘pay it forward’ system ensures that anyone who launches a campaign has already paid their dues. This sets us dramatically apart from every other crowdfunding platform. In every other platform, campaigns have to fulfil their promises to their backers. With WHIRL, they already have!
Limited placements. Secondly, we allow only a limited number of campaign placements. There is a fair and transparent queue for upcoming projects. As projects are funded, the next eligible campaign moves up the queue. When they hit the Active Zone (i.e. the head of the queue), backers’ money goes into these initiatives and only these initiatives. These campaigns won’t exit the queue and leave space for the next ones until they are fully funded — and remember, those who are seeking to launch their own campaigns next need the Karma to be able to do so, and so they will be motivated to make sure their predecessors are successful and vacate the list as soon as possible! Those who have successfully ended their campaigns can re-enter the cycle to rebuild their Karma for their next project, if they wish.
The bottom line is that we will achieve a 100% funding rate for approved campaigns: an absolute game changer in the crowdfunding world. And that truly does make WHIRL unique.
Unlike most platforms, WHIRL accepts a large number of currencies. Without this, investment is necessarily limited. For example, Katalyse (formerly FundYourselfNow) is based on Ethereum smart contracts that can only use ETH, while even the major charity initiative GiveCrypto.org accepts just 6 currencies. Our team has worked hard to implement no fewer than twelvedifferent cryptos: ADA, BCH, BTC, DASH, EOS, ETH, KICK, LTC, USDT, WRL, XML, and XRP, with more on the way. This is no small technical feat but is vital to access a broad cross-section of the crypto world. We’re also planning to add fiat deposits via Visa, MasterCard and wire transfer within the next couple of months, opening both the platform and the wider crypto space up to a whole new global market.
Tech for good
In short, WHIRL is not your average crowdfunding platform. More than a tool to raise money, it’s a community, in the true sense of the term — not just the internet shorthand for a collection of users, but a group of like-minded activists who are prepared to help each other, over and over again. The members of this community are prepared to fund each others’ personal needs — education, travel, medical expenses and so on — as well as business prospects. It’s not simply about ROI or the status of becoming an ‘early adopter’. It’s about people, paying it forward, and using technology to make the world a better place. And we’d love it if you’d join us on that journey.